Feeling pain and pressure in your sinuses could be more than your average allergy symptoms, especially if it persists. Sinus infection or Sinusitis, is the inflammation of the sinus cavities in your face caused by bacterial, fungal or viral infections. Left untreated a sinus infection could lead to more serious issues.
The sinuses are the air filled spaces in the skull behind your forehead, nasal bones, cheeks and eyes that are filled with mucous membranes. When the sinus openings become blocked, or too much mucus builds up, bacteria and other germs can grow in this moist warm environment.
Sinus Infection (Sinusitis)
If you’ve ever had a sinus infection you know the misery it can bring — everything in your face hurts, your jaw, eyes, teeth, forehead and it can bring on the most miserable headaches. In order to help you get some relief and to prevent sinus infections in the first place we’ve compiled a list of home remedies that we hope will be of help to you.
Natural Remedies for Sinus Infection
There are actually quite a few remedies that can help you get rid of a sinus infection without having to resort to antibiotics or even over the counter remedies, use the ones you find easy and that you feel most comfortable with.
There’s evidence that frequent laughter, being positive and avoiding stress can help keep sinus infections at bay. This is not as big of a stretch as you might think if you remember that laughter and positivity have been proven to help to reduce stress which in turn, keeps your immune system functioning optimally, helping with more than just your sinus infection.
A simple inhalation of steam over a bowl, with a towel over your head and the bowl can help loosen and thin the mucus, so it can drain. It also helps to unclog the blocked nasal
passages, therefore relieving the pressure and pain caused by the blockage. Steam also aids in soothing and moistening the respiratory tract, relieving lung congestion, coughing and throat irritation. for an even more powerful remedy add eucalyptus oil or an aromatic oil of
black mustard and ginger solution to your hot water, inhaling its healing properties through the steam to get rid of the infection.
If you don’t have the time to set-up the steaming bowl, you can achieve a similar effect by taking a hot shower, inhaling deeply (through your nose) while showering and afterward in the hot steamy room.
As we’ve discussed before, adding warm salt water to your sinus cavity through the use of a Neti Pot, to wash out the sinus cavities, soothing and moistening them at the same time, can be extremely helpful in battling a sinus infection. The use of salt in the solution kills the bacteria. Many pharmacies sell saline solutions to prevent infections with a cold, but you can make your own easily.
Used in conjunction with steam or a Neti Pot, hydrotherapy can bring fast short term relief and help facilitate sinus drainage, which helps remove blockages. There are two types of hydrotherapy you can employ to help bring relief from sinus issues.
The first is alternating hot and cold compresses:
- Fill a pan with water and heat until hot (not boiling.)
- Fill a bowl with ice and water
- Get 2 wash cloths, a towel and a set of tongs
- Put one washcloth in the ice water and the other in the hot water
- Drape the towel around your neck to catch any stray water droplets.
- Using the tongs, remove the wash cloth from the hot water and wring it carefully with the tongs and your hands, taking care that the washcloth is not too hot and making sure to wring the excess water out.
- Sit in a kitchen chair with your head back and place the hot cloth, folded was cloth on your forehead and sinuses (this will cover your eyes as well) for 3 minutes or until the cloth cools down. Put the cloth back in the hot water.
- Remove and wring out the ice cold cloth and place over your forehead and sinuses in the same manner (this will feel shocking at first but just tough it out, it will settle quickly.) Keep on for 1 to 3 minutes or until cloth is room temperature again. Place cloth back in ice water.
- Repeat two more times.
When you’re done, you’ll be breathing easy, your head will feel lighter and your sinuses will be draining. That’s because the heat expands the sinuses and then the cold contracts them, doing this several times increases circulation to the area and creates a milking action of the sinus membranes, allowing them to drain more freely.
We’ll cover the second form of hydrotherapy (warming socks) for cold/flu and sinus issues in a upcoming post.
Massaging the face is also one of the very best ways to help a sinus infection. By putting
pressure in certain points of the face, such as the areas below the eyes and around the
nose, especially the base of the nose can aid in drainage and pain relief. Although, this can be tender, due to inflammation, it will trigger the opening of the sinuses and the draining of them, ultimately relieving pain symptoms and faster healing.
Let us know at your next bodywork appointment, if your sinuses are troubling you, and we’ll work a little of our drainage magic for you!
Food as Medicine
- Garlic has anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties and is very helpful with sinus infections. You can take it in a capsule or juice form or you can use freshly chopped garlic in a bowl of hot water and inhale the vapor. This helps to thin and drain the thick mucus.
- Grape seed extract helps reduce inflammation of the nasal passages and sinus cavities.
- Eating a mixture of 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil, 1 teaspoon of lemon juice and 1 teaspoon of horseradish helps in reducing the buildup of mucus and also helps to drain it.
- Covering your face with a washcloth dipped in a mixture of 1/4 cup ginger root and a pint of boiling water can trigger nasal drainage and put an end to sinus infection and relieve the pain associated with the infection.
- Apple cider vinegar (ACV) — drink a mixture of 2 tablespoons ACV and a cup of warm water is an excellent sinus infection home remedy. Because ACV contains potassium it assists in reducing the production of mucus and alleviating the symptoms of common colds and runny noses. Clogged sinuses usually are relieved after an hour of drinking the mixture. You can also inhale ACV vapor to help open the clogged nasal passages.
- Eating things such as chicken soup, fresh fruits and vegetables can keep your system running smoothly and help stave off infection.
Avoid foods that can trigger allergic reactions or inflammation such as chocolate, peanuts, wheat, eggs, chicken, shrimp and even dairy products to prevent the onset of
Exercise and Sleep for Sinus Relief
Boosting your immune system to fight infection is key. Regular exercise, 7 to 9
hours of sleep daily and eating healthy foods are some of the most effective ways to
boost your system. Remember to drink lots of water to help hydrate at all times and
maintain healthy functioning sinuses.
All of these remedies are easily done in your home, with materials that can usually be
found already there. Remember that if left untreated a sinus infection can lead to more
serious complications, so give some of these remedies a try to heal or prevent a sinus infection.